Review: Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Title:  Shut Out
Author:  Kody Keplinger
Series:  None
Publisher:  Poppy, an imprint of Little, Brown and Company, Hachette Book Group
Publication Date:  September 5, 2011
Pages:  273
Format/Source:  Hardback/Borrowed from Library
Age Group/Genre:  Young Adult/Contemporary, Retelling

   Most high school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it’s a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy’s car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend’s attention

     Then Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: She and the other players’ girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won’t get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don’t count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. But what Lissa never sees coming is her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling…(From Goodreads)

Book Club Love…

Several of the girls in my book club loved Kody Keplinger’s debut novel, The Duff, so Shut Out was chosen by one member as our February selection.  I hadn’t read The Duff, but as I started reading this one, I wasn’t sure I wanted to anymore.  But let me just say now that I probably will still pick up The Duff someday – just not any day soon.

Some Issues…

I had a lot of problems with this book.  The main problem was that I just didn’t like the main character, Lissa.  She was pretty whiny and very controlling.  Yet I do realize that this is what teenage girls are often like. Since I am twice the age of Lissa in the novel, and often twice the age of the characters in the other YA books that I read, I do sometimes have to remind myself that, even though I am annoyed by what a character says or does, it is realistic.  Yet I can only remind myself of that fact so many times before it just becomes an unlikable character for me.  Yes, I want the characters to be complex and have flaws, but they need to grow a lot for me to like them in the end.  And unfortunately, while there was some growth with Lissa, she just didn’t mature enough for me to be happy with her in the end.

I also had a major problem with the big reveal.  As one of the girls in my book club put it, the events leading up to the reveal were so misleading that instead of being vague or cryptic, it seemed as though the author was lying to us.  I LOVE twists and turns and things like that, but I really feel like this wasn’t executed as well as it could have been.  There were some other inconsistencies that bothered me, as well.

A Bit of Redemption…

I DID, however, like the fact that this book talked openly about women, their sexuality, and the double standards that are so commonplace in today’s society.  Women are taught to hide their sexuality, lest they be called a slut or worse, and men are respected by their peers for their sexual conquests.  I liked the girl-power aspects, and I definitely think that it was a wonderful idea to use the forum of a young adult novel to open up discussions, but the rest of the book just really fell flat for me.

But 4 out of 7 of the girls in my book club really enjoyed this book, while only 3 of us didn’t enjoy it.  So if you like this author, or if the premise sounds interesting to you, you should try it out (and check out the reviews I’ve linked below, which are much more praising than mine).  

My rating for Shut Out by Kody Keplinger:

2 stars.  I really didn’t enjoy it, but there were some positive aspects to the novel.  It was based on the play Lysistrata by Aristophanes.  Perhaps if I had previously read this play I might have found the book more entertaining.

Disclaimer:  I borrowed a copy of this book from my library, and although it was a pick for my book club, I was in no way compensated for this review.


  1. Bittner

    March 5, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    Of course you know where I stand when it comes to this book so there is no need to restate it all here. But I did like your review. It was very fair and I liked that you were thoughtful of other peoples reviews and appreciation of the book.

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      March 5, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      Thanks, Courtney! I really try to make my reviews honest while still being kind and including positive aspects of books, even if I didn't enjoy them. So I'm glad to see that I'm succeeding! ;)

  2. Sophie

    March 5, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    So sad you didn't like it! Although I have to say that I didn't like Shut Out much either. Lissa is more less my age but I didn't connect with her at all. And I didn't enjoy the love story as much as I would. And the "war" between sexes didn't set right. Sadly, since I read and LOVED The DUFF.

    Even when you didn't like Shut Out that much, I encourage to read The DUFF. It was one of my last year favorites! And in this case, I really did connect with the main character right from the start. Maybe she's also immature in some parts of the book, but what totally sold me was the author's use of sarcasm and how actual and real the book felt. For me, it was fabulous.

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      March 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      Yeah, I think I'm still going to give The Duff a shot, because one of my friends who also didn't like Shut Out really enjoyed The Duff. So I'll most likely still read The Duff, just probably not for a while. Too many other books to read! ;) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. fakesteph

    March 11, 2012 at 7:00 am

    I really enjoyed the Duff, although I had some major issues with it. This is in my TBR pile… Not sure how long it will stay there.

    1. Andrea @ The Overstuffed Bookcase

      March 11, 2012 at 4:35 pm

      Courtney and I didn't like it, along with one other girl in our book club, but the other four girls really loved it. So you might enjoy it!

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